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THE BIRTH AND NAMING OF JOHN THE BAPTIST.
(Luke i. 5-22, 57-80.)
In the days of Herod, king of Judæa, there was a certain priest named Zacharias; and his wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
They had no child; and, as they were both now advanced in years, they had no hope of having any. But one day, when
Zacharias was burning incense in the temple at Jerusalem, there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. When Zacharias saw him he was troubled, and fear fell upon him; but the angel said unto him, "Fear not; for thy prayer is heard, and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son; and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his youth; and many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him, in the spirit and power of the prophet Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
And Zacharias said, "How shall I know this? for I am an old man, and